Embezzlement Against an Estate
Although most people are familiar with the term embezzlement and generally associate it with employees and large corporations, few are aware that a person can also be charged with embezzlement against an estate. This type of offense is aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the federal government, so if you have been charged with embezzlement against an estate, you should speak with a white collar crime attorney who can help you formulate a defense.
Federal law prohibits the following types of activity in relation to an estate:
- Embezzling property; and
- Secreting or destroying any documents belonging to a debtor’s estate.
As long as a person has access to an estate’s property or documents because he or she is participating in the estate’s administration in some official capacity, that individual can be charged with embezzlement of an estate. In fact, the law also covers employees and agents of anyone who has this type of access. While the law primarily applies to documents that are the property of the estate, federal courts have stated that the law actually reaches all property received by a court officer as a result of his or her position. This is true regardless of whether the property in question is ultimately determined to be the property of the estate or the property of a third party.
Elements of Embezzlement
In order to convict someone of embezzling against an estate, prosecutors must demonstrate that:
- The defendant knowingly and fraudulently appropriated, embezzled, spent, transferred, hid, or destroyed documents belonging to a debtor’s estate; and
- The documents came into the defendant’s possession because he or she was a trustee, custodian, marshal, attorney, other officer of the court, agent, employee, or other person engaged by this type of officer to perform a service for the estate.
Anyone convicted of this offense faces fines and up to five years in prison.
Contact an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney Today
Being convicted of embezzlement can wreak havoc on a person’s professional and personal life. However, even being charged with this type of offense can spell the end of someone’s career. For this reason, it is critical to have the support and guidance of an attorney who can help ensure that innocent individuals are not convicted and forced to serve a prison sentence. If you are under investigation or have already been charged, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to speak with a Miami white collar crime attorney about your own case. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you schedule a one-on-one consultation at your earliest convenience. We understand that people lead busy lives, so if you do not have time to call, feel free to initiate a live chat with a team member or to complete and submit one of our standard online forms, including a brief description of your case and information about the easiest way to contact you. We are eager to address your white collar crime-related questions and concerns.